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‘Community’ returns to NBC schedule, Betty White’s show gets a premiere date


Joel McHale as Jeff, Alison Brie as Annie, Yvette Nicole Brown as Shirley, Gillian Jacobs as Britta, Danny Pudi as Abed. (Justin Lubin/NBC)

On the other hand, Betty White is NBC’s latest answer to its Wednesday ratings woes — a sure sign the apocalypse is near.

Yes, NBC will make more changes to its Wednesday and Thursday lineups — resulting, the struggling network boasted Tuesday, in the highest percentage of original prime-time programs ever: a mere 13 hours of reruns across the week through mid-May.

In a tangle-of-weeds news release, NBC announced that “Community” would return March 15 at 8 p.m. — bumping “30 Rock” to 8:30 — followed by “The Office” at 9 and “Up All Night” at 9:30.

“Parks and Recreation,” you might have noticed, winds up with no seat in this game of musical chairs. NBC promises the show will return April 19 at 9:30, once “Up All Night” ends its 24-episode order.

On Wednesdays starting March 7, “Rock Center With Brian Williams” is moving from 9 to 10. But only for five weeks: It’ll go back to 9 on April 11, so that “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” can return with new episodes that night at 10, leading up to its season finale May 23.

What will fill the 9 o’clock Wednesday opening in Brian Williams’s absence is left to your imagination. But starting March 21, NBC says, “Bent” will debut in that time slot. The show stars Amanda Peet as a tightly wound lawyer/single mom who hires a ladies’ man/recovering gambling addict/contractor to re-do her new house. Two episodes will air that night and the next week.

The season finales of Wednesday’s “Whitney” and “Are You There, Chelsea?” had better be happening before April 4, because NBC plans to premiere “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” at 8 that night, followed by the debut of “Best Friends Forever” at 8:30.

On a Monday in January, a “sneak peek” at White’s candid-camera comedy — in which a bunch of senior actors pull kick-to-the-groin “pranks” on unsuspecting whippersnappers — clocked more than 12 million viewers. That’s NBC’s biggest audience (excluding the Olympics) in the Monday 9:30-10 slot in more than two years. White also logged 53 percent more young viewers than the network had averaged in that half-hour this season.

“BFF,” meanwhile, stars Jessica St. Clair as a pal who moves back in with her BFF, and BFF’s boyfriend, after being served with divorce papers.

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